No Issues With The Killer Title, But...
DL Minor | Chicago, IL USA | 03/20/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Well, I'm all over the map about this movie, I really am, finding something to agree with in almost every review here, including the least positive.
The positives are these: I adore the look and pace of the film, the to-die-for clothes of course, and the performances (first and foremost) of the great Streep as the towering, terrifying Miranda, the winning Hathaway as the perpetually harassed Andrea, the dependable Tucci as Miranda's long-suffering, witty-wise second-in-command Nigel, and the wonderful Emily Blunt as the bitchy, put-upon first assistant...uh, Emily. All of them--especially Streep, Tucci and Blunt--bring both bite and (mostly hidden) heart to what could have been a collective phone-in of annoying caricatures. And though we really only get glimpses of him here and there, I also enjoyed Rich Sommers's endearing turn as the sweetest of Andy's circle, Doug.
I am seriously ambivalent however, about what the message of this movie is supposed to be, especially to women, and the alarm bells really go off when--SPOILER ALERT--Andy reconciles with her sulky boyfriend, Nate, telling him he was "right about everything."
What? What exactly was he so "right" about??
I don't know about you, but I found Nate, the boyfriend character, absolutely insufferable through almost the whole of the movie. I'm pretty sure he was supposed to be the voice of reason that tries hard to keep Andy grounded and remind her what's truly important, but he came off instead as a sulky brat who could not accept his girlfriend's growing pains as she labored to cope with an impossibly demanding, first ever grown-up job that nothing in her easy-going schoolgirl existence had prepared her for. Were there no demands being placed on him in HIS choice of career? Was his job supposed to be the more important one?
Ditto Andy's best friend, Lily, who seemed to me increasingly more jealous of Andy rather than supportive of her; Lily too was pursuing Bright Lights-Big City dreams that demanded a lot from a young newcomer, after all, so how is it that she had such a hard time with Andrea's chaotic ups and downs? Where did Lily get off being so judgmental and disapproving? This is friendship? I watch these performances and can't decide whether actors Adrian Grenier and Tracie Thoms made poor choices in their playing of difficult characters, or if the characters as written were simply impossible to like. Either way, both were a whiny pain, especially Nate, and Andy's mea culpas to him near the film's conclusion were tough to take.
No one disputes that Miranda Priestley was a Boss From Hell who routinely wiped her feet on her young assistants, particularly Andrea, but we also see that ultimately Miranda was as human as anyone else, a glamorous workhorse whose alley-fighter smarts hid real pain, and it should be said that Andy--who was in the beginning quite smug in her disdain of all the fashionista "shallowness" that surrounded her--had a knocking down or two coming. (I loved the way Nigel simultaneously comforted and took Andy to task after an especially bad morning.) If Miranda put Andy through the wringer--and she did--well, she also taught her some important things (sometimes unwittingly) about hard work, hanging tough, and the choices we make in life to get to where we want to go (or need to stay). Andy could have quit at the end of her first week (I think I would have), but no matter how bad or insanely silly things got, she didn't, at least not immediately. On some level she became aware that she was getting an education she wouldn't get anywhere else from anyone else, and there was value in that. I think she knew that; I hope she knew that. I hope the audience does, too.